Theories of Performance
Author: Jay Besemer
Publisher: The Lettered Streets Press (2020)
Theories of Performance emerges from continued engagement with the issues living in and through a queer, trans, sick/Disabled man's body. Traveling between Chicago to western New York state, caregiving for his terminally ill mother, and grappling with hostility both directly personal and apparently impersonal but political, Jay Besemer presents poems that explode the multiple valences of "performance"—of gender, of expectation, as a type of art—and the theories around them. These poems are confident, playful, and angry; they know both limitation and unboundedness; and they attend, carefully and lovingly, to the language of one's body.
"Jay Besemer's tensile lyrics palpate the many ambiguous and ambivalent spheres by which a person becomes known both to themselves and others––the public, the private, the domestic, the intimate, the bodily, the verbal."
"Theories of Performance pulses with urgent jolts that lead us to consider the many ways in which we are always putting on a show...along the way we revel in the sound poetry of the pharmaceutical industry, in the known and unknown territory that is our guts, our lungs, our feet, our brains."